Hockey N.B. awaiting Hockey Canada review before taking 'next steps'

Hockey New Brunswick has not suspended the transfer of fees or denounced Hockey Canada's leadership.  (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Hockey New Brunswick has not suspended the transfer of fees or denounced Hockey Canada's leadership. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Hockey New Brunswick responded Thursday after new allegations against Hockey Canada were revealed on Monday resulting in a cascade of reaction.

The Globe and Mail reported that Hockey Canada put player registration fees toward a second fund "for matters including but not limited to sexual abuse," according to documents obtained by the newspaper.

The news follows revelations in July that another fund, known as the National Equity Fund, was used to settle sexual misconduct claims.

Hockey Quebec cut ties with Hockey Canada on Tuesday. Hockey Nova Scotia released a statement saying they were "formally suspending the transfer of participant assessment fees to Hockey Canada for the 2022-23 season." Hockey Manitoba called for a change in leadership. The Ontario Hockey Federation also asked Hockey Canada not to collect player fees.

Hockey New Brunswick has not suspend the transfer of fees or denounced Hockey Canada's leadership.

Nic Jansen, executive director of Hockey N.B., released a statement that said the organization "understands the concerns raised by our membership and others across the country and we are taking steps to address them."

Some of these steps outlined by Jansen in the release include working to create educational opportunities for their membership, engaging subject matter experts on sexual violence, discrimination, masculinity and maltreatment as well as promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.

Submitted by Nic Jansen
Submitted by Nic Jansen

CBC News requested an interview with Jansen, but he said other than the statement, the organization had "no further comment."

The statement said Hockey New Brunswick would await the independent governance review of Hockey Canada which will "provide recommendations about that organization and inform HNB's next steps."

Hockey Canada has been under fire since revelations that it had paid millions in cash settlements to complainants of sexual abuse allegations, in some cases. At least one settlement came with a non-disclosure agreement that prevented the complainant from speaking further about the matter.

The controversy has set off a nationwide discussion of a so-called toxic hockey culture, a problem that Hockey Canada has announced it is working to address.

Hockey Canada's board has backed the Bathurst-born CEO of Hockey Canada, Scott Smith, amid the handling of the sexual assault allegations and the secretive multimillion dollar payout.

Prior to joining Hockey Canada, Smith served as the executive director of Hockey New Brunswick in the early 90s.

World Juniors planning continues

Scotiabank and Pepsi paused their sponsorship of Hockey Canada in June. Other major sponsors who've since cut support include Tim Hortons, Telus, Canadian Tire and Sobeys.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

With sponsors pulling away from Hockey Canada, questions have arisen regarding what impact this could have on the World Junior Hockey Championships set for Halifax and Moncton at the end of December into early January.

Premier Blaine Higgs sent a statement to CBC News late Thursday afternoon. The statement says, "the withdrawal of numerous sponsors is [a] concern that Hockey Canada's approach isn't sufficient. We agree."

It also says the government wants to see Hockey Canada be accountable.

"We share the sentiment of many people that if Hockey Canada is to be taken seriously, it must make improvements moving forward to earn back the trust of Canadians," said Higgs in the statement.

But despite concerns, the statement says the Government of New Brunswick, along with the co-hosts for the event, the Government of Nova Scotia and the City of Moncton, are still planning for the games but monitoring the situation.

"We expect Hockey Canada to respect the concerns of New Brunswickers and Canadians to do what is required well before the tournament begins."